Inc. magazine, September 2009 issue
|First issue||April 1979|
Inc. is a monthly magazine based in New York City written for the people who run growing companies. The magazine publishes an annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., the "Inc. 500."
The magazine reports its paid circulation as 690,000 as of February 2007, with monthly newsstand sales topping 20,000.
Inc. was founded in Boston by Bernie Goldhirsh and its first issue appeared in April 1979. Goldhirsh was an MIT-trained engineer who worked at Polaroid and on ballistic missiles before becoming an entrepreneur and founding Sail magazine, which he sold for $10 million, using the profits to found Inc. Goldhirsh kept a low profile, and longtime editor George Gendron was the "public face" of the magazine for two decades. Though long considered the younger upstart compared to most business publications, Inc. suffered following the dot-com era as titles like Fast Company seemed to grab more attention, but the tech crash and subsequent retrenchment saw the magazine stabilize its circulation and image. In 2000, widowed and battling cancer, Goldhirsh sold the magazine to Gruner + Jahr for a price reported over $200 million. Goldhirsh's devotion to the principles of entrepreneurism led him to create the Goldhirsh Foundation and a unique trust run by his children. The magazine was purchased in 2005 by Morningstar founder, Joe Mansueto, and Inc. and its sister magazine Fast Company constitute the publishing arm of Mansueto Ventures.
The magazine is now based in New York City, and its chief editor is Jane Berentson.
The Inc. 5000 is an expansion of the Inc. 500, which Inc. introduced in 1982.
From the December 1982 issue of Inc.:
"Inc.'s premier issue in April 1979 staked out new turf in business journalism by ranking the 100 fastest-growing small public companies in the United States. Since then the INC. 100 has moved forward one month--it now appears each May--and has remained one of our most widely read and best-known features. Last December we expanded the concept by publishing our first listing of the 100 fastest-growing private U.S. companies. In this month's issue we have moved one step further by expanding our private growth listings to include 500 companies."
This list is an annual ranking of the country’s top 5000 fastest-growing, private companies and also features a special ranking of the top 10 percent of the list—the Inc. 500. The Inc. 5000 includes the Inc. 500 but digs deeper to offer the most comprehensive look ever at the entrepreneurial engine driving the U.S. economy in the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America. The Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth over a four year period. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by the first week of the starting calendar year, and therefore able to show four full calendar years of sales. Additionally, they had to be U.S.-based, privately held, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31 of the last year measured. Revenue in the initial year must have been at least $200,000, and revenue in the most recent year must have been at least $2 million.
The Inc.500 | 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony is an annual event produced by Inc. magazine. It was created in 1982 to celebrate the fastest growing private companies in America. In its first issue in 1979, Inc. magazine published the Inc. 100 fastest growing publicly held small companies; in 1982, the list expanded to the Inc. 500, and in 2007, Inc. magazine, in conjunction with Inc.com, released the first Inc. 5000 list.
This annual conference brings together the current year's class of Inc. 500|5000 honorees, the list's alumni, as well as entrepreneurs from the general public. The event has featured a number of well-known business and political figures and expert speakers including: Bill Clinton, Marshall Goldsmith, Scott Cook, Bernard Marcus, and Thomas Friedman.